I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol I, Chapter XV
I can think of no better example of Tocqueville's brilliant observation than what has taken place in this country regarding gay marriage. Once a fringe issue, championed only by radicals, it has now all but become a plank in the platform of the Democratic party. Moreover, all resistance to the tyrannical majority is... well, let Tocqueville explain:
In America the majority raises formidable barriers around
the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write
what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them. Not that
he is in danger of an auto-da-fe, but he is exposed to continued
obloquy and persecution. His political career is closed forever,
since he has offended the only authority that is able to open it.
Every sort of compensation, even that of celebrity, is refused to
him. Before making public his opinions he thought he had
sympathizers; now it seems to him that he has none any more since
he has revealed himself to everyone; then those who blame him
criticize loudly and those who think as he does keep quiet and
move away without courage. He yields at length, overcome by the
daily effort which he has to make, and subsides into silence, as
if he felt remorse for having spoken the truth.
Does that not describe the defenders of traditional marriage? And will this not become truer still when the Supreme Court commands that gay marriage shall be the law of the land?
This is a real problem for conservatives. The self-righteous majority does not recognize our opposition as legitimate, and our system of government grants power to that majority. This is not to say that we should cease making our case, only that we should be realistic in not expecting a fair hearing.
I'll have more to say on the matter later. But one last point: the best case for traditional marriage will be made by our families. We do this not by putting on an act so as to convince the world that marriage is always easy and that children are unmitigated delights. It is not and they are certainly not. Instead, we ought to provide a quiet example by living virtuously.
Marriage, between a man and a woman, is the foundation of civilization. Our marriages must produce good children, who will help us to shore up our fledging society. In this manner, just as the early Church attracted converts, we can win back our post-Christian world.